tv EPA Administrator Pruitt Testifies at Oversight Hearing CSPAN January 30, 2018 7:59pm-10:27pm EST
c-span, where history unfolds daily. in 1979, c-span was created as a public service by america's cable television companies and is brought to you today by your cable or satellite provider. tonight on c-span 3,ment pa administrator scott prosecute testifies before the senate budget committee. then cbo budget director keith hall and the uk youth parliament debates issues affecting young people in britain. scott pruitt, the head of the environmental protection agency, testified at a senate hearing on epa regulations. he answered questions about the
superfund program and efforts to remove lead from municipal water systems. senator john barrasso chairs the environmental and public works committee. this is 2 1/2 hours. >> good morning. i call this hearing to order. we have quite a full house today. i welcome the audience. this is a formal senate hearing in order to allow the committee to conduct its business. i'm going to maintain decorum. that means if there is any disorder or demonstration by a member of the audience, that person causing the disruption will be escorted from the room by the capitol police. first, i'd like to welcome the administrator of the environmental protection agency, the honorable scott prosecute, to the senate environment and public works committee for your testimony today. we're going to abide by the committee's five-minute rule for length of member questions in the first round. time permitting, we will also have a two-minute second round
of questions until 12:30 when administrator prosecute has to leave the building. to t. today's hearing is to examine the epa's record to date after this first year of the administration. the environmental protection agency under the leadership of administrator pruitt has been doing the hard work of protecting the air we breathe, the water we drink and the communities where our families live. administrator pruitt has led the agency fairly. he has balanced the need to prioritize environmental protection with the desires of americans to have thriving and economically sustainable communities. his leadership of epa is vastly different than that of the last two predecessors. under the obama administration, the agency had lost its way. in some very high-profile cases, the epa harmed the very communities it pledged to protect. during the last administration, epa administrators created broad and legally questionable new regulations that undermined the american people's faith in the
agency. these regulations have done great damage to the livelihoods of our nation's hardest working citizens. the regulatory rampage of the previous administration has violated a fundamental principle of environmental stewardship to do no harm. this failed environmental leadership has contributed to two of the worst government-created environmental disasters in decades, the gold king mine spill and the flint, michigan water crisis. those disasters hurt people, many from low-income and minority community who's can least afford it. under administrator pruitt's leadership, the epa has taken a number of bold steps to protect the environment while not harming local economies. administrator pruitt is a key leader of the president's deregulatory agenda, including ending the war on coal. scott pruitt's policies at the helm of epa likely have protected more jobs and promoted more job growth than any other epa administrator in history. he has done so while making significant environmental
progress. the american economy grew 2.4 million jobs since president trump's election. this job growth happened in critical industries like manufacturing and mining. when the department of customers asked manufacturers at the beginning of 2017 which federal government regulations generated the greatest burdens, the answer was clear, the epa. the top nine identified regulations that impact manufacturing are all epa regulations. at the top of the list were the waters of the u.s. rule and the clean air act rule. administrator pruitt is working to address these and other epa rules. his commitment to revisit misguided policies growing our economy in manufacturing, in mining and across the board. two prime examples are proposal to repeal the clean power plan and the waters of the u.s. rule. with regard to the clean power plan, the prior administration wanted to put coal out of
business. 27 states challenged the clean power plan because they saw what the epa was doing. epa under pruitt's leadership is on the right track and getting that rule off the books. as he undoes that rule, i appreciate the administrator's desire to hear from those who would have been hurt the most. the administration has already held a listening session in senator caputoito's home state west virginia and i look forward to inviting them to wyoming in march. the epa's withdrawal of the waters of the u.s. rule. the obama administration's water of the u.s. rule would have gint epa almost boundless authority to regulate what americans can do on their property. this would have impacted farmers, ranchers, land owners and businesses. the epa can and must redefine waters of the u.s. in a way that makes common sense and respects the limits of the epa's authority. this issue is a priority for my
home state of wyoming as well as many other states. the administration's deregulatory approach is working. the white house council on economic advisers reports that the unemployment rate for manufacturing workers is low, the lowest rate ever recorded. the facts also show that according to the last energy information agency quarterly report, coal production in the west is 19.7% higher than the second quarter of 2016. in addition, the stock market is reaching record all-time highs. administrator pruitt has also made significant progress in protecting the environment and righting the wrongs of the past administration. he's made it a priority to clean up america's most contaminated sites. he has held polluters accountable, even if it was his own agency that was responsible for the pollution. pruitt rightfully called the obama administration's response to the epa-caused animus river spill wrong. and he followed -- and he allowed for victims of the spill
to re-file their claims that had been denied by the previous administration. administrator pruitt also allowed the city of flint, michigan to have their $20 million loan forgiven so that money could be better used to help protect the health and safety of its citizens. pruitt stating, forgiving the city's debt will ensure that flynn will not need to resume payments on the loan, allowing progress towards updating flynn's water system to continue. administrator pruitt, the reward for good work is often more work. i don't need to tell you we have a lot more work left to do. knowing on this committee we look forward to supporting your committee -- your continued efforts. i'd like to ask ranking member carper for her opening statement. >> thank you. i want to thank you for finally getting this hearing on the books. oversight is a critical part of our committee's work, and regardless of which party is in power, i'm glad that we finally have a chance to hear from mr. pruitt today. welcome. mr. pruitt, it's been awhile
since you've been with us. thank you for postponing your planned trips to israel and japan to facilitate your appearance before this committee today. for the first time in more than a year, i have a friend who when asked how he's doing he says, compared to what? well, sometimes he says compared to whom. what i'd like to say is how about compare odd your immediate predecessor? gene mccarthy appeared before this committee six times in two years. while her predecessor appeared 14 times in six years. 14 times in six years. you can do better on this front and it's important that you do. today we're not only going to hear from you about how things are going at epa, we'll also hear tonight from president trump about the current state of our union. so it seems like an appropriate time to also take a look at the state of our environment. i understand that epa has been highlighting its so-called first-year achievements on posters around the agency. in fact, we have a cuppy of one of those posters.
where is it? there we go. let's take a closer look at what's being celebrated as achievements. first, epa has voted to remove the clean power plan but with no real replacement to protect americans from carbon monoxide pollution all while rolling back additional clean air protections similar, epa has planned to remove the clean water rule but, again, with no new plan to protect the drinking water sources on which 117 million americans depend. you've been touting the agency's work on contaminated superfund sites by repeatedly taking credit for cleanups completed under president obama's administration, all while proposing to cut the program by 30%. 30%. as part of the task reforms that congress passed in 2016, we gave epa more authority to ensure that chemicals being sold on the market are safe. that way families could have confidence in the products they use every day. under your leadership, epa has
not used that authority so american consumers still don't have the confidence that they deserve. and that we intended. and finally, epa has moved to either repeal, reconsider or delay at least 25 environmental and public health protections in the last year alone. which certainly does not create certainty for the entities that you regulate and that we represent. those are not achievements. those are the exact opposite. clear failure to act. the state of our environment is also fundamentally linked to the state of our climate. and what did we see in 2017 alone? second hottest year on record. multiple category 5 hurricanes resulting in more than $200 billion in damages and counting. catastrophic fires in the west followed by deadly mudslides. severe droughts have have reeked havoc on our crops. rising sea waters that cause
frequent flooding. from alaska to delaware to maine to miami, climate change is clearly affecting every corner of our country, yet instead of spending time and resources trying to tackle what many of us believe is the greatest environmental challenge of our lifetime, this epa under your leadership, mr. pruitt is choosing to wage a war on climate science. this epa has scrubbed its websites of nonpartisan climate science data collected over decades. this epa replaced science advisers who have worked on climate issues for years with individuals backed by industry. doing nothing would be bad enough. the fact that this administration seems to be actively working to discredit and hide the clear science is the height of irresponsibility. now, for the past year, we've heard you give responses to questions and members of other congressional committees and cable news hosts have asked you and many of the so-called -- i really think they're platitudes that you often used to repeat, they're not really answers. let me just run through some of
your occurring responses now so that we can actually get to real answers today. mr. pruitt, you often say -- these are your words. you often say that rule of law matters. well, congress was very prescriptive when it wrote the clean air act. the law sets timelines that epa must use to determine whether our country is meeting federal standards for harmful ozone pollution. but your epa has chosen to continuously ignore and delay that very specific mandate from congress, which leaving down wind states like mine and other vulnerable communities at risk indefinitely. mr. pruitt, you say over and over again that process matters. do you really think that verbal directing career staff to delete the inconvenient economic benefits of the clean water rule is good rule making process? do you? do you think that ignoring the advice of epa scientists helps us clean up our nation's water? do you?
you repeatedly insist you were committed to cooperative federalism. the epa needs to work to better achieve outcomes, yet this administration has sought to zero out funding for critical state programs like those to clean up the great lakes and chesapeake bay. refused to allow states to work together to address harmful pollutants to the ozone. your quote, at pre-1994 levels with respect to our co2 footprint that's to innovation and technology. that comment ignores the common sense and bipartisan regulations put in place over the past four decades to get us up to those pre-1994 levels. it didn't happen by accident, mr. pruitt. reducing carbon emissions is the result of smart vehicle emission standards, clean air regulations and our investments in clean energy, including natural gas and renewables. most of which your epa is now
trying to weaken or repeal. you often remind -- you remind people that you are a former attorney general and you say that you, your quote, know what it means to prosecute folks. but under your leadership, epa has slowed actions against polluters. and though you have touted epa's recent enforcement successes, saying epa has collected billions of dollars in penalties during your time at the agency, you conveniently forget to mention that more than 90% of those cases are from cases prosecuted entirely by the obama administration. you say you're, quote, getting the agency back to basics, but actions like the one you took just last week, just last week to reverse critical prosecutions against hazardous air polluters show your epa is actually moving us backwards. all the way back, in fact, to the early 1970s when polluters were able to spew mercury, lead and arsenic in the air and the water that we drink.
when you claim, i quote you again, president obama said we had to choose between jobs and growth at the expense of the environment or choose the environment at the expense of jobs. that's a false choice. that's your quote. well, mr. pruitt, i've been saying that choosing between our economy and our environment is a false choice for most of my time as governor and u.s. senator. my colleagues here will testify to that. because i know and our country's history has proven to be true. i've easily said that hundreds of times. you know who else famously said that very same thing, hundreds, maybe even thousands of times? well, it was barack obama. time and time again, he told us, and i quote him, there will always be people in this country who say we've got to choose between clean air and clean water and a growing economy. between doing right by our environment and putting people back to work. that is a false choice. whose words are those? barack obama. and he didn't just say them once, he said them hundreds of
times. but he wasn't just waxing poetic as some do. under the obama administration, our country rebounded, if you will, remember, from the worst economic recession since the great repression. we went on to add 16 million new jobs while implementing land mark environmental protections and lowering costs at the meter and the pump for consumers. i don't say this lightly, mr. pruitt, but you are repeatedly misrepresenting the truth regarding president obama's record. sure, we can disagree about policy, that's normal, but to take the very same words, the very same words that president obama used on countless occasions, use them as your own and then claim that president obama said the exact opposite is, frankly, galling. stop doing it. i'll end with this. mr. pruitt, when you were sworn in as epa administrator, you took the very same oath of office that every member of this committee has taken and some of us have taken many times. you swore you would well and
faithfully discharge the duties on office of which you were about to enter. one of those duties is to be responsive to the co-equal branches of government. which means showing up here more than once a year to answer our questions. today, mr. pruitt, please spare us the kinds of platitudes you use. now that you're finally here. i want real answers. my colleagues want real answers. i think the american people deserve real answers. we look forward to those answers, mr. pruitt. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, mr. carper. we'll now hear from scott pruitt, the honorable member of the environmental protection agency. your full written testimony will be made part of the official hearing today. i look forward to hearing your testimony. >> good to see you this morning. it's been too long. as was mentioned by senator carper and i'm look forgd to the exchange and the discussion today. as you know, i was confirmed by this senate in mid-february of last year, and as i began my journey at the agency, i took
the opportunity to spend time with the entire agency and i did, in fact, senator carper, mention three priorities by which we would govern and lead the agency. the first was rule of law and rule of law does matter. rule of law is something that people take for granted that as we administer laws at the agency, the only power that we possess is the power that you give us. so as we execute our responsibilities in rule making, what you say in statute matters as we do towdo our work because provides certainty to the american people. secondly, as you've indicated, senator carper, it's process. process is often overlooked. processes matter in rule making because of the decisions we make involving stakeholders across the country. those who seek to offer comment as we make decisions. so the epa, the proposed rules that we adopt, the comments that the we receive, responding to the comments on the record and final easing decisions in an informed way is very, very important. one of the actions that i've taken as administrator is to do
away with the sue and settle practice that has gone on for years, not just at the epa, but across executive branch agencies. where someone will sue the agency and a decision will be made in a courtroom and a consent decree will be entered and the rule making process is bypassed entirely. process is something we've emphasized over the last several months and something i believe is working in terms of providing clarity and confidence to the american people. senator carper mentioned, this is very important, federalism principles. statutes you've passed in this body, i think more so than others, cooperative federalism is at the heart of environmental studioship. i've visited almost 30 states the past several months. we've talked about superfund to the financial assurances rule in minnesota, to the rule in utah. across the country hearing from folks how those rules impact them. we have taken seriously the principles of rule of law, process and federalism, but as we look forward to 2018, i want you to know that there are some
opportunities that we have to work together on some very important issues. the first i'll mention to you is lead. one of the things that i think is terribly troubling is the lead in our drinking water across this country. and i believe that as we consider infrastructure in the first quarter of this year as we head into the rest of the 2018, investing in infrastructure changes to eradicate lead from our drinking water within a decade should be the goal of this body and the administration. it's something i've mentioned to the president. the president is very supportive of that and we look forward to working with you to declare a war on lead as it relates to our drinking water. secondly, abandoned mines across this country as a huge issue and we have hundreds of thousands of those across the country. private citizens, companies who have the expertise, the resources to clean up those abandoned mines but there are liability issues that need to be addressed, as you're full aware. we should work together to advance an initiative to make sure we do all we can to clean up those abandoned mines across the country.
superfunds, you mentioned, mr. carper. i think one of the most tangible things with respect to environmental protection is make decisions and get accountability with regard to our superfunds across the country. just the last several months, portland and soon west lake in st. louis, missouri, all sites that have struggled for years, we're providing direction and leadership to ensure that we get answers and clean up those sites in remediation. it's about leadership and money and i look forward to working with you in that regard. senator carper, i would say to you as i close, i think one of the greatest challenges we have as a country as it relates to environmental issues is the attitude that environmental protection is prohibition. and i don't believe that. i don't believe environmental protection is putting up fences. i believe we've been blessed as a country with tremendous natural resources that we can use to feed the world and power the world and we should as a country choose to do that with stewardship principles in mind for future generations. we can do both. it is something we must embrace. and i hope that we do work together to achieve that.
i look forward to your questions today. and thank you, mr. chairman, for the opportunity to open with an opening comment. thank you so much. >> thank you very much, mr. pruitt. we appreciate you being here. with my time, let me ask one question, reserve the balance of my time to interject as needed during the discussion. i would say to our republican members, in order to assist senator mccain, senator inhofe is going to be chairing the senate armed services committee today. i know a number of you are members of that committee. if it's okay with my colleague, counterpart, he be allowed to go out of order so he can quickly return to the armed services committee. thank you very much. administrator pruitt, i want to thank you again for implementing a new vision at the epa that takes state input seriously. we're certainly feeling that at home in wyoming. wyoming has a very experienced department of environmental quality. wyoming strives to use the best representative air quality data available to make sound regulatory decisions on issues
like ozone protection, regional haze and permits for industrial facilities. i think it's very critical to have good data. so as a result, wyoming spends a lot of time and resources to review data and determine when so-called exceptional events occur. as they do. an exceptional event may be a wildfire, causing air pollution levels to seem high. under the clean air act, states and epa are supposed to exclude data collected during these exceptional events because they don't represent everyday circumstances. so from 2011 to 2014, my state identified many exceptional events. we asked the epa to recognize these events and exclude the data from these time periods from regulatory decisions. well, in 2016, the epa refused to act and there were 46 of these wyoming-identified exceptional events between 2011 and 2014. you know, but because this previous administration failed to act, my home state faces real
consequences. so the failure to act is going to make it seem like there are violations of air quality that have occurred, creating the perception that there are air quality problems when there really are not. this could lead epa to base future decisions on bad data and it could interfere with permitting and put some restrictions on wyoming's economy. so i sent a recent letter to you explaining the situation that the epa had not yet acted on our filing, and i just asked if you had a timeline for when the epa will be acting on wyoming's 46 exceptional event filings and any thoughts on that? >> mr. chairman, i think a couple of things i would say. you're speaking with particular emphasis on ozone. as you know, we're in the process of designating attainment and nonattainment with respect to ozone now. that's been the priority. we will finish that in april. there are around 50 or so areas that have not been designated yet that we endeavor to finish by april of this year.
think what's important when you think about ozone, there has been a lot of focus on whether 75 parts before billion reducing it to 70 parts per billion was a wise decision. that's not been our focus. our focus has has been more on the issues and implementation that you mentioned. background levels in addition to international global transport. we have some tremendous challenges with international transport on ozone that we also need to somehow consider as we engage in the designation process. so we are earnestly looking at those implementation issues, mr. chairman, in addition to finishing that designation process by mid-april and your exceptional events question is very, very importantly as we engage in implement going forward. >> thank you very much. i'll reserve the remainder of my time. senator carper? >> thanks, mr. chairman. again, welcome, mr. pruitt. you have repeatedly stated that you want to follow the rule of law and work with states to protect our environment. sadly, you failed at both when it comes to clean air.
clean air act requires epa to partner with the states to address cross state air pollution. these protections are critical for downwind states like delaware and our neighbors. are critical for downwind states not just like delaware but others up and down the east coast. we are located at what i call the end of america's tailpipe. instead of working with states to address this issue, your actions are making things worse. for example, you rejected a quest from northeastern states to coordinate with upwind states to rousseau zone pollution. you've also failed to answer at least six state pollutions, several of which are from delaware, that ask epa to require upwind power plants to install or consistently operate already installed pollution controls. last week, you issued a memorandum to -- like arsenic, like mercury, like lead, impacting the health of millions and people and further burdening states dealing with cross state
pollution. later on, we'll get to some questions that are not yes or no questions. i have a limited of time. i'm going to start off with yes or no questions. answer them yes or no, if you will, please. later you'll have a chance to ex-spanned. mr. pruitt, did epa do an analysis of the health effects of last week's decisions, including an analysis of the potential increased cancer risk? did you? >> are you refer to the policy decision from last week, senator? >> yep. >> yes, that was a policy decision that we have the authority to make and interpret the statute. >> yes or no. to my question. >> as i indicated senator, that's a policy decision that we made. as far as the ones in always status of determining whether someone qualifies as certain levels under the statute. that was a decision made outside of the program office of air. it was a policy office decision. >> i find it -- i'll ask another question. yes or no, did epa do an
analysis that shows exactly what facilities are likely to increase their toxic air pollution due to the action taken last week? >> senator that decision was a decision that took major emitters, as you know, there are major emitters -- >> seem sorry. i don't have a lot of time. i'm asking for a yes or no. >> those are not yes or no answers, senator. i have to explain what we were doing with that decision. >> okay. i just -- i find to incredible that epa did this seemingly without knowing or caring about potential health effects of its action. again, yes or no, will you revoke this memorandum until the analysis is actually completed and the public has had a chance to comment on it? will you? >> if you may, senator, i can explain our decision. if you want me to. >> thank you very much. thank you very much. mr. pruitt, i wasn't too happy
with the obama epa asked for a six-month delay to answer delaware's cross state pollution petitions. however, your administration seems to be ignoring those petitions altogether. the law requires an answer from the epa in 60 days and you and your team have had over a year to answer. again, this is a simple yes or no. will you commit to answering the overdue petitions submitted to the epa by delaware and other states to request epa's help on cross state air pollution with the connect 30 days? >> i commit to you we'll get you an answer very, very expeditiously. >> can you do that within 30 days? is that asking too much? >> we're able to respond within that timeframe. >> thank you. mr. pruitt, both the bush administration and the obama administration's epa concluded that global warming pollution from cars and suvs was dangerous. this is known as the endangerment finding. a federal appeals court also upheld this finding after you tried to overturn it. when you appeared before us in
our confirmation hearing a year ago, you agreed that the endangerment finding was, quote, the law of the land, closed quote and that rule of law matters, closed quote. you also made statements in congress no fewer than a dozen times. for example, last year, you told reuters there might be a legal basis to overturn the epa's decision. you also stated in september and october of last year that the process epa used to make the decision was flawed. mr. pruitt, the white house -- trump white house said it wants the epa and the transportation department to negotiate what i would describe as a win-win on cafe and tailpipe standards with california that. means the policy of the trump administration must be to find the endangerment fienlding alone because it's what gives the pea and california the authority to write those rules in the first place. another yes or no. for as long as you are
administrator, do you commit not to take any steps to repeal or replace the so-called endangerment finding? >> senator, as i indicated -- >> my time is just about expired. please, yes or no. >> senator, the standards that you referred to -- >> yes or no. -- you plan to take any steps to repeal and replace? >> no decision or determination on that. >> all right. one last question. mr. pruitt. i'll stop there. my time's expired. we'll have a second round. thank you so much. >> thank you, senator carper. senator fisher? >> thank you, mr. chairman and administrator for being here today. resulted in economic viability across the nation while still ensuring the epa's primary mission of protecting our environment is upheld and i thank you for that. in 2017, nebraska hit a jobs milestone with an unemployment rate of 2.7%, which was reported last december, and, mr. chairman, i would ask unanimous
consent to submit for the record an article from "the lincoln journal star" highlighting nebraska's unemployment standing as the fourth lowest in the nation. thank you. administrator, this is a director correlation to your efforts at the epa to streamline the regulatory process that has for many years negatively impacted job creators' ability to hire workers because they were forced to allocate resources to comply with many cumbersome regulations. this past year has been a welcomed change for nebraska's public power utilities, our farmers and ranchers, manufacturers and small business owners. i'm encouraged by the epa's decision to revisit the 2017 regional haze rule, which was issued in the final days of the obama administration. if implemented, that rule would take authority away from the states and impose a one size fits all federal implementation
plan that simply doesn't make sense. many rural utilities have been aversely affected by past regional haze actions. during the prior administration, epa repeatedly second guessed states' plans, including nebraska's 2012 plan, and instead imposed federal plans that forced the installation of unnecessary and costly controls that went well beyond what the states had demonstrated what was needed. as you know, nebraska is the only 100% public power state in the country, and that means that any costs that are incur bid the utility from regulations, it's passed on to every single one of our citizens. it's very important to me that you get this rule right. so can you describe what additional efforts epa is taking to improve the next phase of the regional haze program and the timeline for those actions and how will the epa respect states and also make sure that
electricity is not made more costly through these unnecessary regulations? >> senator, thank you for the question. i would say to you that one of the interesting pieces of information that i discovered upon arriving at the agency was a collection of about 700 or so state implementation plans that had been prepared by states all over the country where resources, expertise had been deployed to improve air quality across a whole spectrum of programs. regional haze across the spectrum. there was a backlog with no response. we put an emphasis on that and that backlog is being addressed. to the question about regional haze, regional haze is a portion of our statute that i think provides more privacy to the states. the only environment to reach natural visibility by the year 2064. so long as states are taking steps to reach that point, they have tremendous latitude in how they achieve it. we're revisiting all of those
steps, making sure that states are submitting plans that will reach those objectives by that timeframe, as you've indicated in the statute. >> i thank you for your commitment to that and always taking into consideration the time and the expertise that states put forward on those plans. i would now like to turn to a topic that you are well aware of, and that is the 2015 wotus rule. and pride the american people a clear definition of wotus that doesn't go beyond federal authority. can you share us what the next steps are in the epa's process for repealing this rule? >> yes, senator. this goes to some things you mentioned, senator carper, in your opening statement. when you talk about wotus or the clean power plan, we're not
deregulating, we're providing -- there are steps being taken to provide a substitute or replacement to the cpp that we're in the midst of presently. we have a withdrawal proposal out in the marketplace that will deal with that 2015 rule to provide certainty. then we have a step two process that is ongoing to replace a substitute definition with what the statute and case law says is the waters of the united states. i anticipate that proposal, senator, up coming out in some time april, may of this year and hopefully final easing that by the end of 2018. >> thank you, administrator. i look forward to reviewing that. >> thank you, senator fisher. senator cardin? >> thank you for being here. let me just preface my comments with regards to your statements in lead and drinking water. there is strong bipartisan support to help eliminate lead in drinking water and we hope we
can have an actionable agenda to accomplish that in a bipartisan way. i'm going to use my time to follow up on our confirmation hearings to talk about the chesapeake bay. you're not going to be surprised to know that. we have a new addition to my committee, my colleague chris van hollen from maryland is on the committee. your going to get more than just one senator, and i also want to thank senator carper for his interest in the bay as one of the bay states and senator capito and senator gillibrand. so we have synergy here on our committee as it relates to the bay and we've made progress. the bay is better as a result of the bay program. the recreational values, economic values, land values, public health have all been improved. i hope i'll have a chance to ask you three questions. if i don't have enough time, i'll do the rest for the record dealing with the chesapeake bay program budget as submitted by the administration. the check peek bay office -- epa's office in indianapolis and the support for "the bay
journal." first, in regards to the appropriation level, the committee, fy '17 budget passed by congress was $73 million. our appropriation committees are working up numbers for fy '18 that are comparable. this committee on a bipartisan basis passed an authorization bill after the president's budget submission at $90 million. we need your help as an advocate -- i remember the conversation as the chairman talked about programs that are state up, local government to the federal government asking for the federal government's participation. that's the bay program. this is a local program in which the chesapeake pay office bay oe glue that keeps it together so we have an independent observer and endorser to do what we say we're going to do. can we help from you and omb to get money in the president's budget? >> i'm seen as persuasive, but sometimes i'm not as persuasive
as i endeavor to be. as i mentioned to senator van hollen, i'll say the same thing to you, it is important. i believe there has been tremendous success achieved through the program. i really appreciate congress' respond during the budgeting process and i'll continue to work with you through that to ensure that we address those issues that you've raised. >> thank you. i want to talk about the chesapeake bay office, epa's office which is located in annapolis today. it's noaa, usgs. there is a synergy in this office. as i understand it, there is some concern by gsa particularly it's located in the flood plains. there may very well be a need to relocate. we fully understand that. i would ask that you get engaged on this. keeping the synergies with the other federal agencys is important and having a location near the chesapeake bay is symbolic and important. the location the epa was looking at to move the epa office alone
to ft. immediameade. which is federal facilities. the problem is that it's not near the bay. secondly, it's behind the fence line, which for d.o.d. has a significant cost. because every person who visits the epa office has to go through the security network, which is already overtaxed because of budget concerns and the number of tenants that are located at ft. meade. would you work with us to get a more reasonable answer to epa's location with other agencies so that we can accomplish the purpose of the federal partnership with the other -- >> absolutely, senator. i was actually briefed on this in anticipation of our hearing. as we talked about it, if there were issues there at the current facility, we need to try to work through those issues to keep the facility there as best we can. absolutely, you can count on my participation and cooperation with you and the other agency. >> understand that d.o.d. does not want epa behind the fence
line. there is a cost issue there. so i just hope they'll be sensitive to that, even though it may not come directly out of the epa budget. >> i will. >> i appreciate it. the last thing on "the bay journal" we talk about this being a public-private partnership. it is. we have tremendous support for the bay programs in the jurisdictions here. the significant cost sharing is shouldered by the private sector. "the bay journal" receives one-third of its funding through the epa and currently in a six-year grant from the epa. i think year two. as i understand, a decision was made to cut off the funding as early as february 1st and i would just urge you to give us time to make sure that this program continues because it is an important part of our public-private partnership. >> it is unreconsideration, senator, even in anticipation of
this hearing. i learned of that decision after the fact and i think it was probably a decision that should not have been made in the way that it was. it's under reconsideration already. >> thank you mr. chairman. >> senator moran? >> chairman, thank you for having this meeting. administrator pruitt, thank for your attendance. i've sponsored legislation in the past to submit a.g. emissions and i support the committee moving forward to ag producers. but in addition to the uncertainty and unnecessary burden threat of citizen lawsuits that requirements would add to our farmers and ranchers, i'm also concerned about privacy. privacy of farmers and ranchers. most producers live on their farm or ranch so any public disclosure about this, the data and its private information is problematic. i secured report language in an interior appropriations bill directing epa to safeguard the privacy information and i would
ask you, mr. administrator, if the epa is required by the court to collect emission reports before congress acts, what assurances can you give kansas farmers and ranchers that any sensitive information required on those reports, including their farm location, would be protected from the public? >> senator, thank you. it's a very important area that you indicate. there is more latitude that we have under one statute than the other, but we're looking at all options under us to provide clarity, but also i think opportunity for farmers and ranchers to know as information is collected, if, in fact, it is that privacy concerns will be addressed. it's a very important issue and something i think congress needs to look at very, very expeditiously. i think our team has been visiting with members of the senate to that end and i'm hopefully we can address to legislatively. until that occurs, we are taking all available steps to us to address these issues. >> thank you. if there are issues you'd like
to raise with me, i'd be happy to have further conversation. let me turn to another topic. thank you for your efforts to approve an rfs pathway for the production of advanced biofuels from oil. that will result in the production of 20,000 gallons of advanced biofuels. the comment period for that closed on friday. i appreciate the progress being made but want to continue to urge you to act quickly. you and i have talked about the pathway on the phone on two occasions. we want to make sure kansas farmers and ethanol producers can provide on that pathway. can you provide me with a timeline? >> the period disclosed this past week and i'm not aware of the number of comments that came in, senator, so it's very difficult to say how long the process is, but i understand the urgency and it's something we are focused upon from a program office perspective.
>> would you ask your team to get back with me? >> i will. i will. >> thank you. finally, just a more general question, the voices of farmers and ranchers it seems to me are often left out of the decision-making process at epa. i appreciate you've developed a much stronger working relationship with agriculture community. if the future we have different administrations in charge of epa, we may revert back to the old ways in which farmers and ranchers are once again left out of a seat at the table. can you talk to me about the changes you've instituted that epa that you believe will be carried beyond your ten you're. what's the long-term effects to make sure that agriculture is considered? >> as you know, i have an agricultural adviser that interfaces with those stakeholders on an ongoing basis. that position will continue post my time at the epa. we also have something called
the smart sector strategy. it is an effort on our part to work with various things that we regulate to deal with issues protectively and proactively as opposed to responding to rules. the ag sector is in that smart sector strategy. hopefully that will live on as well but that's something that we've instituted. >> thank you very much. >> senator booker? >> thank you very much. thank you very much for being here, mr. pruitt. it would be helpful if you were here more often. first and foremost, just talking about superfunds, i was alarmed, i know this is a budget regulation about the 30% cut. this is an area that needs a lot more attention and in the last congress, i asked for information about superfunds, are we driving them down? but actually they're increasing, the number of the contaminated sites are increasing in our country. you know this i'm sure, but 11 million people, including about
3 million children live within a mile of the superfund states. a lot of data coming out of princeton shows children living around superfund sites, children born have significantly higher rates of birth defects and a autism. they don't just contaminate the ground and the water, we know that these birth defects and serious problems could come from a lot of other contaminants in the area and the like. there is an urgent risk from a study that i know you're familiar with about a recent analysis that showed 327 superfund sites are at risk after flooding due to some of the impacts that we see with the climate changing. 35 of those flood-prone superfund sites are located in new jersey. and it's a big concern in my state. last week, one of the epa's top career superfund staffers told the house energy committee customers -- excuse me, house energy and customers committee, and i quote, we have to respond
to this climate challenge. that's just part of our mission set. we need to design remedies that account for that. we don't get to pick where superfund sites are. we deal with the waste where it is. with this increased flooding we're seeing, we really have the urgency, the threat of these superfund size growing. and so do you agree that we must design remedies for these superfund sites, the 327 that right now are an eminent risk of flooding? >> well, absolutely. in fact, we had a decision recently, senator, down in houston that had oxen that was in a harbor area and they remedied was simply covering with rocks on top of it. we came in and provided a more permanent solution to the tune of $150 million. >> i'm sorry to interrupt you and i'm interested to hear about houston -- >> that's an example. >> if you could get in in writing some of what you're trying to do to remediate these
328 sites and a silence of a timeline and the resources, and if there needs to be congressional action. >> yes. >> thank you very much. have you directed your staff to do some kind of analysis on these sites? >> we have taken the superfund portfolio and as a priority not just to identify the 327, but of all the sites what poses immediate risk to health. >> i'm very -- i'd love to get for a qfr understanding your approach to this imminent health crisis. the next issue, we've talked about this, environmental justice. it's an issue i've been doing a lot more traveling on and seeing unconscionable realities in places like alabama and north carolina and other states. i'm not sure -- what i'm really concerned about is how much you are taking into account the environmental burdens that are disproportionately impacting communities of color and indigenous communities and low-income communities. one example is on december 19th, the pea initiated a rule making process to revise protections
provided to agricultural workers protection standard. the worker protection standard is a primary set of federal standers to protect over 2 million farm workers, including half a million children the has adds of working with pest tieds. the epa is now considering lowering the minimum age requirement that prohibits children from handling dangerous pesticides if they are under 18 years old. the protection was put in place because pesticides can increase the risk of cancer for children whose brains are still developing and more. i don't know if you believe this personally, but do you think that children handling dangerous pesticides is a good idea? this rule seems to be in place for a reason. you know probably about executive order 12898, which requires the epa to identify and address disproportionately high and adverse human health effects that activates -- that
disproportionately affects minorities. an executive order that looks at minorities and low income communities being disproportionately impact. it's one of the executive orders around the issue of environmental justice. again, these are communities disproportionately are communit harmed. as my time is expiring, i'll ask this for a qfr, you decide to move forward with this process to potentially weaken these agricultural protections. i'll hold the notice you have here, not only the requirements for minimum age, but also the designated representative requirement, which often in populations that might not be english fluent, having that designated representative gives them the best chance to have an advocate. i'm worried about the rules. you cite the executive order, president trump's executive order on deregulation. but you don't have anything here about expressing concerns about disproportion at impact on
low-income, and minorities. for the record, chairman, would you please be able to provide for me in the record how you are considering the disproportion at impact on minorities when it comes to this advertised rule change that raises really alarms with me, that these vulnerable populations will be disproportionately hurt, whether it's the children that could be handling these chemicals, or the lack of advocacy that might exist for one of the more vulnerable populations we see in america, which is farmworkers. >> as you know, that's a proposal. we're in the process of taking comments now. many issues will be addressed and unpacked during the process. >> consider this my comment, sir. >> but with respect to environmental justice, generally, i want you to know, as an example, chicago, you and i talked about this during the confirmation hearing process. i very much believe that we need to make sure that as we make decisions on key issues like e-chicago, and superfun space, i spent time there listening to
stakeholders in making decisions one on one. it's a very important aspect. we'll get the information for you on the other. >> will you come to new jersey? >> absolutely, yes, sir. >> thank you, senator booker. senator ernst. thank you, mr. chairman, thank you, mr. pruitt for being here today and taking the time to answer our questions. americans expect good governance from all of us, and they expect accessibility, participation, responsiveness and accountability. and since taking the rains at the epa you have shown that you are not afraid to engage with the american population. and you just gave that example of going out, visiting those sites for superfunds. you have also shown that you are willing to hear firsthand the concerns of americans, while giving those that are affected an opportunity to engage in the decision-making process. so thank you for that. in addition to the superfund issue that you just addressed, in august of last year you
traveled to des moines, iowa, and you met with over 50 stakeholders from across the ag industry at the farm bureau. we left that round table really encouraged by what we heard, and what we were able to engage in. knowing that we do now have a partner in epa. under your leadership epa has taken necessary actions to walk back and repeal destructive obama-er a rules, like wotus and the clean power plan. those are all things that have harmed our farmers and ranchers, and our constituents at large in iowa. most importantly, you followed the rule of law and fulfilled the administration's promise, protecting high quality american jobs by providing key commitments to maintain the letter and the spirit of the renewable fuel standard. and today i want to thank you again on behalf of iowa's farmers and rural communities. all of these actions have
created certainty. they've kick started economic growth, and generated countless jobs across the country. your back to basics approach has helped iowa's unemployment rate dip below 3% for the first time since the year 2000. so thank you for that. during a more recent trip to iowa on december 1st, you noted that epa was actively exploring whether it possessed the legal authority to issue a nationwide rvp or read vapor pressure waiver. and three months ago you sent a letter to a group of senators, myself included, stating you would look at ways epa could fix the restriction preventing e-15 from being sold during our summer months. can you give me an update on where this stands? do you, today, have clarification on whether or not the agency can extend the rvp waiver to insure that our consumers have year round
access. >> so, senator, thank you for your comments. with respect to the rvp issue, it's not really a policy issue, it is a determination about the legal authority on whether it can be granted nationally or not. it's my understanding that senator fischer actually has proposed legislation on that particular issue. >> she does. >> and we've talked about that. but the process internally to determine the legal authority continues. i'm hopeful we'll have a conclusion on that soon. i made a second trip to iowa in the fall of -- fourth quarter of last year, and shared that with stakeholders there. it's very important. and we are working to get an answer as soon as we can. >> do you have a projected time frame? >> i don't. we can get that to you. i'll get a follow-up from this meeting. >> that will be important to us as we move through a lot of discussions, between the consumers, between those that are producing e-15, and of course those in the administration. so we look forward to having that answer. >> yes, senator. >> very soon. last august, while you were in
des moines, you also touched on the potential benefit of moving federal agencies or various departments out of washington, d.c. and into the countryside, and across the country where an agency's decisions are actually felt. this could be a relatively simple way to shift economic activity to hard pressed communities, and prevent harmful rules and regulations from even being considered. with a more decentralized epa, do you feel misguided policies such as wotus could have been prevented, and do you support relocating government functions outside of the washington, d.c. metro area? >> well, senator, and mr. chairman, and ranking member carper and others, this is a very important question with respect to how we do business and how we deliver services as an agency. half of our employees are located in those ten regions across the country, and half are here in washington, d.c. and one of the things that we ought to engage in as far as a
collaborative discussion is whether it makes sense to locate operational units in each of the state capitols across this country to ensure there's a focus on issues that are specific to that state, whether it's superfund, air issues, water issues, the rest. i believe this is a discussion, and we've just begun the discussion internally. i would welcome the input of members of this committee as well as congress on what makes sense there as relates to delivering better services across the states and the country. >> and i appreciate that so much, administrator. and i do believe having that easier access, the access closest to the people is the best way our federal government can work. thank you very much. >> thank you, senator. senator duckworth. >> thank you, mr. chairman. well, i hope, administrator pruitt, that you would then continue to reconsider the shutdown of the epa office in chicago region 5, which i believe there was a memo stating that you wanted to shut -- potentially shut down that office and move it to kansas,
leaving no epa offices in the entire midwest region. >> that's not accurate, senator. >> well, i hope it stays inaccurate then that you don't shut down that office. >> not sure where that memo came from. >> it came from a memo from the epa. >> last month before the house, energy and commerce committee you said regardi lead in our drinking water that it is a great threat in our country. you have referenced your war on lead and said you wanted to eradicate lead poisoning in the next ten years. which was music to my ears. during your nomination hearing, i asked you if you knew what was safe lead level was in children, you stated at the time you were not familiar with the latest science on lead exposure. given your comments on your war on lead, i take it you have since familiarized yourself with the safe blood lead exposure for children. can you state for the record what that level is? >> the epa has a level of 15
parts per billion. there are states considering lowing that. from my perspective, there is no safe level. we need to eradicate it from our drinking water. >> the right answer is 0. it would be wonderful if you could -- unfortunate through your rhetoric doesn't match your actions over the last several months. the administration as taken several steps that would make it harder, not easier to limit lead exposure. for example, the epa planned to update the lead and copper rule in 2017, and finalize it in 2018 under the obama administration. since taking over as administrator you have instead decided to kick the can down the road for at least two years. now, during your war on lead we can expect updates to the rule not in 2018, but 2020.
this doesn't sound much like a war on lead. yes or no, will you direct the epa to finalize this rule in 2018, instead of waiting two whole years? >> yes, senator, as you know it's a 1991 lead and copper rule. it's been in existence -- >> no, no, no, yes or no. >> secondly -- >> yes or no. >> the -- >> yes or no. >> mr. chairman? may i ask a question? >> i would be happy for you to elaborate in writing for the record. is that all right? >> we'll take this as a question for response. >> it is. the agency's been working to update the rule, senator, and i can tell you it's a priority for this administration to update -- >> a two-year delay is not acceptable. because every day i have children who are exposed to lead, and they don't have 700 days to wait. the president's fy-18 budget proposal which outlines the administration's ten-year policy
priorities called for the elimination of epa's lead risk reduction program that trains contractors and educates the public about safely removing lead paint from homes. the budget cuts millions of dollars in grant money from states and tribes to address lead risk. this does not sound like a war on lead. again, given your war on lead, your words, yes or no, will you commit to prioritizing this program, and make sure it's fully funded? >> we are working to update the lead and copper rule, expeditiously. we are also working with this body, hopefully, to engage in an infrastructure -- >> what about the epa's lead risk reduction program that the president attempts to caught in his budget. >> it is a point of emphasis for us to update the rules and take an aggressive potture to eradicate lead -- >> so you will not fight to keep the epa's lead risk reduction program, is that what you're saying? >> i didn't say that, senator.
>> you will fight to keep the program as opposed to the president's budget which seeks to eliminate it? >> we will continue the discussions with this body to proper fund it, as you decide. >> will you speak with the president and say, don't cut this program? his budget eliminates it. >> as you know, your marked up version of the budget is 7.9 billion. that's not in the marked up budget. >> so you're not going to fight for the epa's lead risk reduction program, for something that's a priority for you. >> we will continue to work with you to properly fund that, yes. >> i'm also alarmed to see that the trump budget slashes ground and drinking water, responsible for implementing the lead in drinking water program. how about this priority? will you prioritize this program to ensure it's fully funded, the ground and drinking water program, the office of ground and drinking better, and surely the office of ground and drinking water is consistent with your back to basics version, vision for epa. >> very important, and we will
continue to dial with congress for that issue. >> what about the white house? >> i will continue to work with this body. >> i'm going to have to take that as a no. you're not answering my question. i'm out of time. i yield back, mr. chairman. >> thank you, senator. senator inhofe. >> thank you. i get the impression you don't like you. >> at least one. >> well, anyway, you've been doing a great job. i do have something for the record i wanted to put in, mr. chairman. it's an article out of oklahoma that talks about the -- all the improvements in the economy that are coming with getting rid of some of these very punitive regulations we've been going through. i want to ask consent this be made part of the record. >> without objection. >> i ask for consent to insert for the record a report from moody's which suggests something different, thank you. >> without objection. >> okay, i walked in just at the
tail end of somebody else's, who's not here now, inquisitions of you, and talking about the regulations. you know, i remember it so well because i was -- all during the obama administration i was either the chairman or the ranking member of this committee. and i think i sat right behind you, and i used to look at what was happening to our economy. which is in the process of being reversed right now. but he was implying that some of the poorest, the most vulnerable people are the ones who are being -- that we're trying somehow, or you're trying somehow to punish. and i want to just remind you that we had a guy, i remember it so well, harry alfred, the president of the national black chamber of commerce. he provided some of the most powerful testimony that i have ever heard when it comes to the effects of the clean power plan, and some of the other regulations. he was referring specifically to
that, would have on the black and hispanic poverty, including job losses and increased energy costs when it comes to regulations that you've been quoted as saying, and who benefits? the elites. the folks who can least afford those kind of decisions pay the most. so i'd ask you, how is the epa working to ensure that the most vulnerable communities are being considered, and that the agencies cost benefit calculations are accurately portraying realities on the ground? >> well, senator, good morning to you. and i think your question goes to the heart of cost of electricity, largely, and our power grid, and there are issues around that that obviously go to costs. we can't consider cost in our program, but we can these other provisions that impact the cost of electricity. we endeavor to make sure our cost benefit analysis considers those things and to make sure we're making informed decisions as we finalize our rules.
>> he was very emphatic as to who is paying the price on these. i think sometimes that previous administration forgot that those individuals, there are people out there, paying all they can pay just to try to keep, try to eat and keep their house warm. that was one of the things that we have observed. i was happy to see that you ended the practice of sue and settle. oklahoma's been on the wrong end of this tactic used by the obama administration, which was nothing more than a way to create regulations behind closed doors without public input, or even input from affected parties. can you explain more about how you see this being a positive environmental outcome? >> yeah. the sue and settle practice, i mentioned in my opening comment, senator, with respect to regulation through litigation. it's something that's not unique to the epa. it's something that's happened at other federal agencies, justice is also involved in a reform effort there. but i think what's important to note, that as we engage in
regulation, regulation is intended to be -- there's intended to be laws of general applicability. when you go into a litigation and you negotiate a consent degree with one party that affects others, that's not transbarbsy and also not fundamental to the epa and open process to rule making. that was the motivation in addressing the sue and settle, the regulation through litigation. we've stopped that at the agency. that doesn't mean we won't ever enter into consent decrees or settle cases. it means as we do it we'll publish those settlements up to 30 days for people to provide comment, and interested parties who want to be aware of that can be if necessary. >> i wasn't here during your opening statements. so i missed -- that's a very good explanation. let me -- in an interview with the national review last month you stated that we still have a lot of work to do on clean air. but that was for the last
decade. the epa was so focused on co 2 that we've let a lot of other things slide, from my view as chairman and ranking member of this committee, for the obama administration. i agree with you that his singular focus on regulating a naturally occurring gas as a pollutant came at a heavy cost. now that you've been an m administrator for nearly a year, what areas were neglected by the previous administration. >> the attainment issue. 40% of our country that live in areas in a don't meet air quality standards. i think as i look at the investment. counties, making ziss, collecting data, we're using model data as as opposed to monitored data. as we talk about the budget through this process, it's important to look at ways we can help states and counties put more monitors in place to get realtime data to ensure that
we're making realtime decisions on air quality. that's something i would love to work with congress to achieve. >> yeah, yeah. well, right now i'm chairing the senate armed services committee. i have to get back to that. but i appreciate the fact that you're here. but why in the world did you agree to two and a half hours? >> that's an end point. we possibly will be done before that, senator inhofe. you have a chance to come back. >> senator, you used to blame ryan jackson for a few things. i'll do the same. >> senator whitehouse. >> i hope you get further than i did. >> okay. >> thank you, chairman. mr. pruitt, welcome to the committee. let me start by asking unanimous consent to put three documents in the record. one is a report entitled abandoning science advice by the center for science and democracy, and with it are two internal documents from the epa that chronicle how political are
stacking the scientific advisory committees with industry representatives. in this case, the clean air scientific advisory committee. >> without objection. >> thank you. >> mr. pruitt, you were confirmed about a year ago in february. and about a year before that, in february of 2016, you went on a radio talk show at a radio station called kfaq in tulsa. the show's host is a man named pat campbell. i don't know if you remember that. >> i appeared on that program a few times. so i don't remember the particular program you're referencing. >> well, the reason that i mention it is that we have a transcript of the interview that you provided.
and i don't know if this is what you had in mind when you said you were interested in reaching common ground. but i can assure you that there are a great many americans who share the concerns that you expressed in that interview. the first one is this one. you told mr. campbell, i believe that donald trump in the white house would be more abusive to the constitution than barack obama. and that's saying a lot. do you recall saying that? >> i don't, senator. >> would you -- >> and i don't echo that today at all. >> i guess not. >> given your comments about -- >> i'm afraid i've lost it. >> we have -- i'm having technical difficulties. so anyway, that was one
statement. then the interview continued, and mr. campbell said the following. "everything that we loathe and detest about barack obama and the abuses of power, donald trump is the same thing, except he's our bully." your answer to that, "that's right." as the interview continued, mr. campbell talked about his dad who was a veteran and was now elderly, served our country. and mr. campbell said "i had a conversation with my dad not long ago."
and he went on to say "he summed up donald trump in one word. he said, "this is mr. campbell referring to his dad, he said "he's dangerous." you said, "you know, your dad is very astute." . we're going to hear from the president tonight. i think the president is going to be speaking to a country in which millions of people share your concerns of february 4th, 2016 about a president who you believed then would be abusive to the constitution, a bully, and dangerous. in my minute remaining i'd like to ask you about your schedule. because you have an unusual propensity for not releasing
what's going on on your schedule. i direct you to friday, may 5th. when you spent the day in tulsa, oklahoma. that night you were scheduled to give a keynote address at a fundraiser for the oklahoma republican party. because of the hatch act, you cancelled that event. you're not allowed to go and do fund raising for parties in the position that you are in. that was the original reason for your trip to tulsa that day. the only thing that shows on your schedule for that day is lunch with a guy named sam wade. it seems to me, like it's an awful long way to go at taxpayer expense to tulsa for lunch with one guy. could you please let us know what all else you did that day, specifically did you go to the oklahoma republican party fundraiser?
and because my time is up, that can be a question for the record. >> thank you, senator whitehouse. senator boozman. >> thank you, mr. chairman, mr. chairman, i have a letter that the arkansas department of environmental quality sent me yesterday in support of epa's recent decision to approve arkansas's revised regional hay state implementation plan. quote the letter "arkansas applauds the epa's recent improvements in regard fostering increased cooperation with the states in order to achieve environmental goals in a sensible and practical manner." i'd like unanimous consent to enter the -- >> without objection. >> thank you, mr. chairman. administrator, i was very happy to see the epa approved arkansas's revisions to the regional hay state implementation plan. many in arkansas are thrilled that we now have an epa who's willing to listen to the states,
and are excited to proceed towards the goal of improving air quality. in the past we've had a situation where the epa wanted to hear input as long as the state agreed with them. if not then they got themselves in trouble. can you explain your approach to cooperative federalism, and the change that we're seeing in that regard? >> you know, i think, senator, with respect to the regional hays program, i appreciate your comments, and arkansas has worked diligently to submit a plan that is approvable under the statute. i think that would be something i would highlight for you is that the agency needs to take a more proactive approach at working with states in the submission of plans to actually recognize their expertise and resources at the local level to achieve those outcomes, and help provide clarity in the timing as far as getting that done. i think in the past we had an effort of displacing state authority there and issuing federal implementation plans at the expense of those state plans. i think the opposite should be
true. we should work with those states, let them adopt the plans that's particular to the issues they face, and provide the type of support that helps them achieve that. >> good. so you're working well with the states in that regard. what else, since your confirmation, have you done to reached out to other stakeholders? >> one of the things that's so different, dnr is -- across the countries, departments of natural resources vary by state. but their interaction with the governors is different. so we have worked very diligently with governors, both democrat and republican governors to ensure that issues that the state faces, they are aware of those issues. that from our perspective, and we're learning from them, and making sure that their respective executive branch agencies are working with us to achieve that too. it's an effort to work with the governors in addition to those agency partners that we've worked with for a number of years. >> very good.
folks on the left spent a lot of resources selling a narrative that you've locked career employees out of meetings, don't heed their input when considering the direction of the epa. are these allegations accurate? and -- >> they're inaccurate, they're inra in accurate. >> i'm very encouraging to people taking notes during meetings. we want to keep track of where we're headed on issues. i'm not sure where those things came from. they are, in fact, inaccurate. >> these false claims, what does that do to morale in the office? >> look, i think we have a lot of work to do, a lot of opportunities to do good things and we try to stay focused on that, i try to stay focused myself. working with career employees. one day we had a conference that i attended, i talked about the importance of establishing goals and metrics, keeping track of
those and celebrating successes. for too long the agency has not been willing to state goals, what are we going to be five years from now, working to achieve that. i think that's something both in the water space across all the program offices we need to do better at. >> very good. i'd like to just reenforce senator inhofe's words, discussion about sue and settle, how important that is. and can you again tell us how that's actually helping the environment versus hurting the environment in getting rid of that? >> well, primarily when you, again, enter into a negotiation through litigation, and a consent decree comes out of that that doesn't involve voices from across the country, it's short thrifted. there have been examples where states have endeavored to intervene in those discussions and have been denied. an agreement is reached and then it's forced upon those states. it's kind of subverted the voice of those stakeholders at the state level, among others, and
that's not a good way of doing business. >> good, thank you very much. >> senator markey. >> thank you, mr. chairman, very much. earlier you did not answer senator carper on whether epa performed an analysis of health impacts of your decision last week to allow significantly more amounts of extremely dangerous pollutants to be put into our air. your decision means that industrial facilities like power plants, our chemical factories, our hazardous waste incinerators will no longer be required to use state of the art technology, the gold standard to reduce these harmful emissions. this should be a very simple answer. there are 187 dangerous
pollutants covered by this policy that you have rolled back. let's just go through a few of these. arsenic. do you believe that more arsenic pollution is harmful to the public? >> yes. >> do you believe that more mercury pollution is harmful to the public? >> i do. >> do you believe that more lead pollution is harmful to the public health? >> yes, senator. >> do you believe that more benzene pollution is harmful to the public health? >> yes, sir. >> well, your decision allows more of these pollutants, more of these toxics, to go into the atmosphere, to go into the air, to go into the water, to go into the environment, children will be exposed to these pollutants. seniors will be exposed to these pollutants.
we should have a gold standard of pollution control in this country. that is what the epa should ensure is on the books. but you're going to replace the gold standard with a lead standard. and that will not be good for the health of the children in our country. the president has a slogan of maga, but here it's going to be make arsenic great again. this is not good for our country. that decision is an historically bad one last week, and i urge you to reconsider it immediately. on the question of fuel economy standards, you say that you are reviewing them right now in response to senator carper. the head of epa's air office has
no plan to withdraw the good public policy standpoint, the very best outcome for us to achieve is one national program. >> one national program is essential. >> one national program is essential. and do you support, once again, the maintenance, the retention of the california waiver, which massachusetts uses, and many other states also use, do you support the -- >> california, they're in ongoing discussions with c.a.r.b. in california, the agency that oversees these matters. it is our hope we can come to a resolution in april of this year. senator, federalism doesn't mean one state can dictate to the rest of the country. we recognize california's special status in the statute and we are working with them to find a consensus around these issues. >> massachusetts is part of that waiver, as are the states of many of the members of this
committee. and we want to retain that ability to have the highest standards possible. yes, we do want there to be harmonization -- it happened under the obama epa and department of transportation. but we are increasingly fearful that there will be a rollback of the fuel economy standard. so there's one thing i would like you to keep in mind. we still import 3 million barrels of oil a day from saudi arabia, libya, kuwait, iraq, we should not be importing oil from these countries. if we can increase our fuel economy standards. fracking is reducing our dependence, but isn't fuel economy standards. we can't have no retreat.
we're sending young men and women in uniform over to the middle east to continue to protect that oil coming in from the middle east. we have a moral responsibility to put the fuel economy standards of our vehicles at the highest possible level. and i just want the epa and the trump administration to understand that these young men and women are over there, not exclusively, but in part in order to protect that supply of oil. we will never be energy independent. we will never produce all the oil that we need in our country. 10 million barrels a day, 13 million barrels a day, we're still consuming 19 or 20 million barrels a day. fuel economy standards will back out 2.5 million barrels a day. we should honor that commitment, and you should honor what massachusetts and california and the other states want to accomplish. >> if i may, senator, i think the issue that you've raised is important, but also the harm
anization with do.t. there are joint equities. we're working diligently with them to harmonize these efforts. it's federalism, and it's also interagency at the federal level. >> the most important equities are those young men and women we send over to the middle east to protect oil. we should ensure the standards stay as high as possible. >> senator carper. >> unanimous consent if i could, submit for the record, if i could, mr. chairman, regional record, bush regional office concern stated several years ago with respect to air toxic rollbacks, thank you. >> well, thank you, senator carper. and i'd like to use a little of my time to interject and respond comments on the epa. in 2017 the state of connecticut supported the epa's decision to withdraw the policy. as a matter of fact, the state of connecticut said "such a policy discourages pollution prevention efforts and often forces business owners with very
small actual hazardous pollutant emissions to expend significant resources, not consistent with air admission, and health benefits achieved. state and federal regulatory agencies, the state of connecticut going on, state and federal regulatory agencies must expend significant resources on compliance and enforcement efforts for these facilities with small actual emissions, often gaining little in air quality improvement." so i ask unanimous consent the entire statement be included in the record. senator rounds. >> it would be interesting to know if the current governor of connecticut shares those same views. we'll have to find out, thank you. >> senator rounds. >> thank you, mr. chairman, and administrator pruitt, senator markey and i served for the last two years with oversight of the epa. one of the items, we would both agree on, coming from different political approaches was still the idea that sound science was
going to be critical in our discussions. i'd like to go back a bit. we had senator markey make his statements and express his concerns, versus the existing -- as he identifies it, a gold standard. but i didn't hear the opportunity for you to respond, and to share your thoughts on this. i'd like to give you an opportunity to share your thoughts, and perhaps analysis on the decision that you've ahead and the reasoning behind it. >> yeah, the chairman, i think -- thank you, senator. i think the chairman just made reference with his comments. once in always in decision was really about insent vising investment by companies to achieve better outcomes from the environment. in the statute, there were entities called major emitters. all this policy says is those major emitters make investment and achieve outcomes to achieve air quality. if they meet the standards, and don't have to be treated as a
major emitter if they're no longer in that category. the issue is, if you're a company and you've invested hundreds of millions of dollars to improve outcomes, you ought to be considered a minor emitter under the statute once you make the investments. this rewards investment in conduct to achieve better outcomes. my response to you with respect to all those pollutants, is what i believe, i believe we can achieve better outcomes through this kind of policy by rewarding investments. >> i'd like to take another step down that line. that is with regard to sound science. we had a lot of discussion about the need to turn back. many of us feel that in some cases on either side of the aisle we either win or lose when more information is interjected. we take our chances and look at the best sound science available to us. would you explain the steps you've taken to make sure the agency decision-making is based on the most current, best available science? can you elaborate on how your new guidance on the role of
scientific advisory boards, and conflict of interest, will enhance the use of sound science at the agency? >> as you are aware, senator, and members of the committee are aware, we have 22 advisory committees that are at the agency. the science advisory board, the case act boss, the board of scientific counselors are three of those 22. members of those committees, historically, have been able to serve while receiving grants and also providing independent counsel under the statute to the agency as far as rule making. that is something from my perspective that is not consistent with providing independence, if they're receive ago grant and there's oversight responsibilities at the agency with those members that serve on those advisory committees. at the same time that they're rendering counsel on the other. so we've established a policy that if you want to continue receiving the grant, providing help to the agency on that side of the ledger, you can continue, or you can continue serving as a member of the committee. but you can't do both. that goes to the independence of
the review with respect to the integrity of that process. so that was the heart of the policy initiative we adopted. >> thank you. you know, there's been a lot of discussion back and forth about biofuels and all sorts of items like that. i'm just curious, i've focused on in particular south dakota, ethanol is a critical part of our economic activity. we also think we have a long-term opportunity to add corn ethanol as a very valuable octane enhancer with regard to liquid fuels. i'm just curious. i think it's an item that i suspect you spend some time on with regard to all of those issues. i'd just like your thoughts. are we reasonable in a discussion long term about the viability and the need for octane enhancements with regard to fuel standards and so forthcoming of age? >> i think this goes a little bit to the questions the senator just raised on fuel efficiency standards in our cafe review. the agency has not been
considerate of the fuel side of the ledger as far as how to achieve better outcomes. high octane is one of those. europe has looked at that extensively. we have not. it's a design element of the vehicles, which is important. but the fuel side is equally important. as we go through the cafe process we are, in fact, looking at those kinds of issues. >> that includes the ability and the most efficient ways of delivering octane from any one of a number of different sources, including ethanol in the future? >> yes, we're agnostic about the source. it's more of a high octane approach generally. >> thank you, thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, senator rounds. senator merkley. >> thank you, mr. chairman. during the time that you have now been director, the agency has taken 15 actions related to air quality. 15 of those diminish air quality. and zero of them improve air quality. i heard from you quite a bit today about your interest in air quality. but right now you're 0 for 15.
so my question is, how many of those 15 actions were supported by the american lung association? which has been -- made air quality a significant part of its advocay is effort. >> i'm not sure, senator. >> it's zero. as you would expect since 15 actions have diminished air quality. how many of them have been supported by the american academy of pediatrics? >> i'm not sure. >> well, you want to take a guess? >> i'm sure you'll advise me. >> well, if i was giving you advice, i would say actually run the agency to improve air quality rather than to diminish it in areas such as ozone and smog and methane and the mercury and the list goes on and on. >> on those issues, as an example on ozone, we are implementing the 2015 standard as we speak. on methane, i've indicated -- >> i'll have your submit your extensive answer for the record because i know you're very good
at filibustering. we'd like to cover as much material for the public as possible. i will denote on ozone you delayed the defending and complying with the ozone rule on april 7, 2017. but let's turn to asbestos. to my colleague you answered there were a number of items you thought didn't contribute to health when you increase the amount of pollution. how about asbestos? if you increase the amount of asbestos pollution does it contribute to american's health? >> no, it's something we ought to seek to do all we can to eradicate. >> thank you. and that's really supported by scientists, the center for disease control reports that malignant m malignant mez theelioma is a -- median survival of approximately one year from time of diagnosis. and so in this particular area,
the president's been very clear about his position, which is the opposite of your position. i just want to be absolutely clear, you disagree with the president when he says that asbestos is 100% safe? >> well, disposal issues with respect to asbestos are our initial challenges. we have working through those -- >> i'm not asking about disposal. i'm asking if you agree or disagree with the president when he says asbestos is 100% safe? >> it's actually one of the priority chemicals we're reviewing. >> thank you. in that regard, there is a group that is a major importer of asbestos into our country, 95% is imported, it is seeking an exemption from the asbestos standards, whatever that might be that eventually comes out of the epa, are you inclined to grant an exemption for the group that imports 95% of asbestos into the united states? >> senator, i'm not -- that's something i would have to look into, the status of that petition. i'm not familiar with the status at this time. >> okay. but conceptually you'd agree --
>> i don't prejudge the outcome. >> 95% of the imports of the asbestos is exempted from the standard. >> yes, as i indicated i would have to check on the status and report back to you. >> i encourage you also to look at canada and brazil, which have reached the logical conclusion that asbestos is hazardous, and they have banned it. and also there is an emphasis at the epa now to only look at the production of new items that have asbestos in them while ignoring the vast amount of asbestos that is already in the environment and causing significant problems because it frays, and it, therefore, causes contamination. containment is not complete. will you commit to taking on asbestos both with the new asbestos that's being put into products, but also in terms of the existing asbestos?
>> it's one of those priority chemicals we're reviewing, senator. i can tell you the legacy issues you make reference to is very important. that's the reason i mentioned disposal earlier. >> a recent report noted that although it is one of the priority chemicals, that it and nine other of the priority chemicals are being slow walked in the agency. are you slow walking the priority pollutants for americans? >> no, senator. as you know under the taska law we had obligations last year to adopt three rules consistent with implementation. we've achieved those. we've added resources in the office to a backlog of chemical review. no, it's been an absolute priority during our first year. >> well, outside observers are finding the opposite. i do hope we'll get details from you showing that, in fact, you're working hard. this is singular bipartisan accomplishment of this committee was getting the taska act passed. it would nice to see it implemented aggressively.
>> thank you, senator merkley. senator van hollen. >> thank you, mr. chairman, and thank you, mr. pruitt, i appreciate the exchange you had on the chesapeake bay, and i'm hoping you will prevail on the administration to put the $73 million or more in for the bay program. you would agree, would you not, that it's important that epa's decisions be based on the facts, be faced on merit, be faced on the law, and not on politics? would you agree with that? >> absolutely, senator. in the sense that we do rule-making, we have to make a record. >> i don't mean just that. in your procurement, contracts, isn't it based on law and the merits, not on politics? >> i believe generally what you're saying, yes. >> generally? okay, it disturbed me to find this report back in december. it was headlined epa contractor
has spent past year scouring the agency for anti-trump officials. in exchange with one of my colleagues on the republican side who asked you about epa employees and morale, you said you didn't think there was any reason or bad morale, are you familiar with this article, a "new york times" piece? >> i'm not, senator. >> well, you should be. both senator whitehouse and senator harris have written you a letter about it. that you haven't responded to. and what the article stated was that the epa contracted on a no-bid basis with an entity called definers public affairs. are you familiar with that entity? >> i'm familiar with a clipping service that we have. i think that's what that is. i am familiar with that entity. >> that's right. so this is a clipping service, the co-founders of the clipping service are both well-known republican operatives. and they got a no-bid contract.
can you commit to the committee that you'll be responding to the letters from senators on this committee regarding what happened in this case? >> yes, yes. it's my understanding that the contract was actually $87,000 less than what had been paid the year before for the clipping service. >> is it appropriate this entity was doing searches on epa employees to determine whether or not they were "part of the resistance "? >> i will say this to you, the contract has been terminated today. we will provide more information. >> the reason it caught my eye, it was in connection with what senator cardin made. appreciate the decision to end the contract with the journal is being reconsidered. it should not have gotten to this point. it worries me as a window onto politization on the epa as captured in this article as
well. what happened in that taste was that it was shortly after the bay journal published an article, and there are lots of articles and opinion pieces in the bay journal, shortly after they published an article questioning and criticizing the administration's position on environmental issue, especially on climate change, the impact that could have on the chesapeake bay, and i encourage you to go to the naval academy, because there they talk about the risks of rising sea level in annapolis on their operations there and around the world. but the bay journal had a piece in there. it was shortly after that that its contract was terminated. despite a good performance review from epa in april. and the retired head of the bay program just earlier this month, in an interview to energy and environment daily said it was politics that killed the funding
for the bay journal. have you looked into this issue at all? >> as i shared with your colleague, senator cardin about this, it's something that's under reconsideration. i am familiar with it at this point. we are taking steps to address it. >> senator cardin and i wrote you back in october on this issue. we would appreciate a written response as well. but in an exchange that the folks at the bay journal had with the epa folks making the decisions, specifically john konkas on the phone with them as your assistant, administrator for public affairs, he reportedly said the following. this is john, quote, "well, everybody knows that the american public doesn't trust the press, and he saw no reason for us to fund the bay journal." is that a position that epa takes regarding its review of contracts like this? >> i think i've indicated,
senator, that the contract is under reconsideration. we're going to deal with it fairly. >> i understand. but you understand this is now under litigation. and my concern is a broader issue. we should never have gotten to this point. we should not get to the point where epa is making politically driven decisions on contracts where epa is previously, ever, on political grounds, this is one where epa found them to be in full performance. so i just hope you will work with us to get all the documents regarding this decision. it is a small contract. it's meaningful to the bay journal, which assembles a lot of this information. i'm most worried about it also in combination with other stories about political decisions in contracting coming out of the epa. so mr. chairman, i hope we would agree on a bipartisan basis that no agency should be basing its decision on politics. again, i appreciate your review
of this decision. but we really need to get to the bottom of how it happened. so that there's integrity in the process. >> thank you, senator van hollen. senator sullivan. >> thank you, mr. chairman, and administrator produce yit, i'm glad to see you, glad you're here. i heard it's been going great. it is good to have you here on a regular basis. i appreciate that. i also appreciate the meeting you and senator whitehouse and i had recently. i'm not sure if you mentioned it. i thought that was very -- >> you missed that. >> i'm actually serious. we had a very good meeting over in your office, the three of us and our staffs. great to see senator van hollen here on a committee that actually gets a lot of stuff done. so more -- we welcome him. i do want to mention on that issue of marine debris that you and senator whitehouse and i talked about, we do want to look at opportunities for the epa, in
addition to n.o.a.h. and other federal agencies to play an important role on that. it is a very strong -- there's a lot of strong bipartisan support on this issue, which is a huge environmental issue, and it impacts my state, impacts rhode island, impacts every state, really, not just states with coastlines, but every state in the country. so i know we had a lot of follow-up from our meeting, but i appreciate you working with me and senator whitehouse on that. i also appreciate, you know, at the outset the chairman mentioned some of the things that you have done, your focus as you said during your confirmation hearing on the rule of law process, which is important, certainly important in my state. you've made decisions recently with regard to pebble mine and others, you're focused a lot on that process. and on the wotus rule. some of the complaints here on this side, the vast majority of the states in america, democrat and republican-led states were
opposed to the wotus rule. 30 states sued the federal government. there was no process. that was a huge federal overreach. and i appreciate you drawing that back. you have the support of the vast majority of the states and american citizens on that one. and i just want to thank you on that. i do want to mention another one that's actually very important to me, and i'm really glad you highlighted it, too, actually in your opening testimony. you mention lead with regard to water infrastructure, water and sewer. i think that's important. you can get a lot of bipartisan support on that. i do want to remind you, though, and we've talked about it a lot. after the flint, michigan scandal, really, occurred, a lot of people were talking about how we need to address aging infrastructure. my own view, though, is we need to address communities who have no infrastructure first, like over 30 communities in alaska
that don't have water and sewer systems, that don't have clean water, that still use what are called honey buckets, don't smell good, it's actually american citizens removing their own human waste from their house because they don't have sewer systems and putting them in a lagoon, american citizens. it's a disgrace. we passed a bipartisan bill last congress in this committee that significantly advances funding for that, for communities that don't have water and sewer in america, in america, thousands of my constituents. and i certainly want your support on that. could you comment on that? i'd like you to get to that before you get to the lead issue. because it's a disgrace, right, whether you live in alaska or any -- no american citizen should live in a community where it's essentially like a third world country. >> i think this, senator, actually goes to part of the
president's infrastructure proposal. as you -- i think you're aware, 25% of the monies that are a part of the infrastructure package are going to go to rural communities across the country. i think that water infrastructure is terribly important, as you've identified. the first quarter and second quarter of this issue, hopefully we can address those issues. with respect to lead, it's an infrastructure issue. the rural communities that have it need upgrades and corrosion control measures and the rest. there's opportunities across the spectrum with respect to these matters. >> great. let me touch on another one, and i'd like to be able to work with you and your team on an issue that you raised here on abandoned mines. and with regard to abandoned mines, it's actually not just abandoned mines in america. we have a significant challenge with our good neighbors to the north, they're not really to my north. they're actually to my state's
east, canada. where there are transboundary mines that impact the waters and fishing, and tourism of southeast alaska. these are mines that are in canada. some of which have been abandoned, some of which have recently had, you know, huge spills, like the mount polymine in british columbia. i'm heading to canada this weekend to meet with senior officials there with my lieutenant governor to talk about this transboundary mine issue. and others. but having the full weight of the federal government, the state department, and the epa helping us on this where to be perfectly honest canada has not acted like a good neighbor on this. they're ignoring our concerns, and they are very legitimate concerns. so if i could get your commitment to help me and my state with regard to not just abandoned mines, which i think it's a great topic to focus on,
but transboundary mining in canada which negatively impacts, certainly has the potential to negatively impact clean water i affecting water in america. can i get your commitment on that? >> yes. but also in taiwee tee tijuana need to work on as well. >> i look forward to working with. >> heading out with questioning two minute round of questioning. and senator carper will be first. in you want to relinquish your time. >> thank you. two minutes is short. so i'll try to be as quick as i can. just i mentioned the may 5th day you were going down to speak to
the republican fundraiser in oklahoma. do you recall off the top of your head if you went to that? >> i do, senator, i was authorized to go, but when the event was publicized they did it incorrectly. >> can you tell us what you actually did that day? >> i'm sorry? >> did you tell us what you did that day? >> we'll provide the information pursuant. >> unredacted. >> that's something that we'll coordinate with this body. >> okay. because i don't see why you would block out parts of your schedule, that's all we have is the lunch. >> and again, senator. >> long way to go for one lunch. >> so the day could have been rescheduled as far as activities. >> but you would never know it because it's all redacted and blacked out. it's bizarre we don't see that. >> you can see how productive we are that day. >> i would appreciate it. second thing is i had a request in to you to the epa scientists instructed not to speak and then
withdrew themselves from the speaking role at the conference. you may recall that because it kicked up a big fuss in my area and even kicked up quite a national fuss as well because it was patent case of scientists being told not to speak about something that they had worked on for years. what you answered in response to our questions about that was this will not happen again. and i'm delighted that this will not happen again. i think you are right it should not happen zbin. wh again. what we have not given any explanation of how it happened. who told what whom what. will you guarantee that you will tell us how that happened and give us an actual explanation? >> yes, sir. >> looking back at why this happened, who told who what, what the email chains were, whatever the story is let's get it out there. >> and senator, in response tour
other question i'm advised by staff they did communicate tour office that i did not attend that event. >> r-. so that's been confirming. >> unblocking for that day. >> we'll work on those issues. >> thank you. i'll take that as a very soft yes. >> thank you senator. >> thank you. >> thank you very much. and in your testimony, administrator t you ha administrator, you have highlighted how epa has struggling economic growth. and i travel all counties in iowa and i hear this from manufacturers who are having growth of undoing the regulations. how will epa tina chart forward by continuing power to the states and maintaining this economic growth trend? >> senator, that's a reason i mentioned in my open comments importance of the three principles. from rule of law to process to
fr federal rhyth federalism. it's oce it's essential how we do business. because when we adopt rules unfeathered it's unregulated and that they can allocate resources to achieve those outcomes. so those are very important fundamental principles confidence in the american people that can have confidence. >> in the remaining 45 seconds we have left, i would like you to answer any questions that maybe you didn't have enough time to answer. >> you know, senator, just over all, i think sometimes on these issues around the environment they are passionate issues on both sides. that's the reason i keep talking about civility and this approach doing business that tries to find a pro jobs and pro environment combination. we don't have to choose between the two. and we as a country have done
that well. we don't celebrate our progress enough. we have reduced pollutants under the air quality program by over 65%. we have made regular progress. we have reduced co2 as country over 14% from 2,000 and 2014. and largely through innovation technologies senator carper, obviously government regulation, but it is a partnership, and approach that we as country setting the pace, growing economy and protecting our environment, being good stewards of our environment. >> and i appreciate that. thank you for your partnership. >> thank you, senator ernst. >> senator merkley. senator duckworth you are next, i apologize. >> thank you. i'm holding in my hands a memorandum from the epa dated march 21st which is after you were confirmed of head.
i'd like this memorandum submitted. >> without objection. >> thank you. it is titled final resource decisions. communicates final resource levels and policy guidance that support the environmental agencies budget. in it it eliminates great lakes program. numerous programs that we've talked about, including my previous mentioning of the statement about shutting down epa office region five as a cost avoidance rent cost avoidance measure, region 1, region 5 and region 9. you might want to make yourself familiar with this memorandum as it is being submitted for the record. i had like to go back to your travel, mr. prewett. in addition to your schedule,
you have taken four foreign trips to include a recent trip to morocco at a cost to taxpayers of $40,000 where according to "the washington post" you spent four days ploeting the saploe promoting natural gas. while your state oklahoma is third largest in your country, i don't understand what it has with epa mission. certainly inconsistent with your claim to bring back the basic vision of epa. natural gas is under the jurisdiction of u.s. department of energy and promotion of natural gas is the kind of thing that the secretary of energy would do or perhaps someone running for governor of oklahoma or some other elected office there but not consistent with what the head of the epa should be doing. so will you provide this committee, yes or no, with a detailed skie detailed schedule of your meetings of international travel since being confirmed? >> i'll do so because it shows i've attended two countries not
four. >> the last two were canceled israel and japan during the shut down. >> we'll provide that to the committee. >> wonderful. thank you. and can i assume like all these americans you did not find moroccan a north african nation to be a hit hoel when you visited? >> senators time sex pierd. >> thank you. >> senator gillibrand. >> thank you, mr. chairman. administrator prewett, as we discussed previously, i'm really concerned about the levels of a toxic pfoa and pfo that has been found throughout new york. they granted the authority to epa to congress the risks from all of the uses of a chemical that are, quote, intended known or reasonably foreseen to be manufactured, processed
distributed or disposed of. your agency recently finalized in p implementation rules. they ignored the public's exposure of chemicals called legacy uses. however, legacy uses posed risks to public health because the past chemicals can still contaminate ground water. this means that epa will not likely study the remedy for removing them from -- sorry, page two. oh, it's on the back. sorry. back to my question. this means that epa will likely not study the heat risks from widespread exposure to chemicals like pfoa under this law. you have said that, quote, any action by the epa that exceeds the authority granted to it by congress by definition cannot be
consistent with the agency's mission. epa's decision to choose to ignore the clear intent of congress is therefore not consistent with the agency's mission. will you please direct epa to revise the implementation rule that all uses of chemical including legacy uses are studied? >> we are in fact going to look at foreseeable uses as you've init cad and we are very concerned about p foe and p foe has not distributed since 2003. they are all legacy. >> all of it. >> and we are very much going to focus ton th focus on that. >> on the hudson river specifically i was glad to see they are broadening the scope of hudson river cleanup analysis to look at sediment examples and effect the contamination on lower hudson. as you know epa is currently in
the process of five year review that examines the effectiveness of dredging, god, sorry, i'm so awkward today, of dredging for removing pcbes from the hudson river. i'm very concerned that in the draft review report, epa determined that while the remedy is not currently protective of human health and the environment no additional removal is needed even though restrictions on the consumption of fish from the river are expected to remain for more than 55 years. new york state and the wildlife services for hudson river strongly disagree. will you have the new sample in the analysis? >> there has been no determination on that. and i am concerned as you are. there has actual by been found in the flood plain, 40 miles
already dredged, so much work left to be done before we get clarity ton that issue. >> and will you personally review the final report before its released to the public and ensure all of the concerns are fully addressed? >> yes. >> thank you. epa 21 superfund sites that need immediate action. not a single one is in new york state despite the fact there are currently 86 superfund states in our state. epa has offered no detailed explanation how they arrived at this list. additionally my understanding when a freedom of information act request was fired asking for documents with epa superfund task force, not a single document from 107 task force existed other than the final public memo. so that obviously is not true. will you commit to producing all documents related to how epa developed the 42 specific recommendations on how to
improve the superfund program and the immediate intense action list of superfund sites within 15 base days? >> we'll dlefr theliver them to the end of the week. >> great. do you think it's wise to cut the budget? >> with respect to the budgeting process, i have made it clear to this body as well as the house we will continue to work with you to make sure priorities are funded. i am concerned about orphan sites. i think there are greater challenges beyond money but money matters to our succeed in that side f our responsibility. so yes, we will continue the discussion with you. >> thank you. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, very much. it was interesting, full-page article in "the washington post" friday january 26, 2018 about going through the work that the administrator is doing with regard to the superfunds with the maps of before and after and
how basically talking about the exceptionally good job that is being done by the administrator of the epa in addressing superfunds. i don't know if you have seen that article. >> if i may for a second mr. chairman in that regard the sites we highlighted in the last year. they are not meant to be exclusive. they are sites that we see immediate progress made during a time frame. so that list will continue to be populated with new sites. so it was not to be exclusion narry list at all. it was a matter of providing focus to our land and emergency management office in each of those areas. >> mr. chairman. >> i'd ask unanimous consent to submit for the record several news articles about epa's superfund activities including an article that found that the majority of the superfund cleanups touted by mr. prewett was the work of the obama
administration. thank you, mr. chairman. >> and without objection, and without objection i'll submit this into the record as well, this article. mr. blue men their. >> actually, i want to ask this, these were the subject mat hear that you zrnt time to respond to. you've been vocal about the differences of the epa being about stewardship versus prohibition. now we have been through a period of prohibition. what is the difference and how are you moving epa from a policy of prohibition to stewardship? >> i think it's something that the american people and i think this body and as we do our work, we need to wrestle with what is true environmentalism. that's a very important question.
because i think as we ask and answer that question to your question, senator inhofe, many look as it as prohibition, even though we have been blessed with natural resources to power the world, we put up fences and spreent the development of those sources. we have never done that as accountsry. we have always been better outcomes. but the american people expect us to use the natural resources and focus on stewardship and not let prohibition be our aim. so that is something we intend on talking about as attitude as we go through 2018 and getting back to the basics in these coral core elements as far as outcomes. >> what do you show your role as stewardship under the law that you take it seriously. >> i think it's interesting, mr. carper made an entry into the record as far as superfund and
work of the previous administration. look, i mean, we take cases that come to us, previous administration began, but i'm proud of the work we've done over the last year getting accountability with respect to super fund. . as an example, in houston texas, i mentioned this earlier, responsible party put rocks on top of a site that has a chemical. and i went in and came up with conclusion of $115 million reinforcing it. but the company is barking but we are getting the cleanup. so i think we as a team i'm proud of the career employees that achieve outcomes in the superfund area. and that's one of those. >> thank you, senator inhofe. >> let me say in response part of my time. to that point, as i understand over 300 superfund sites to be
cleaned up. >> more than that. >> we have an administration over 300 yet to be cleaned up. we have an administration that's asking for not more money to clean them up, but actually less money. that's all. i yield back. >> i still have a little time. >> yes, sir. >> actually 1340 plus sites across the country yet to be remediated. and most of those sites have a po responsible party that's a company that has money. we have to have processes in place to get those cleanups occurring. and that's our focus on well as advising congress on needs that we have as well as funding. >> we'll go to senator merkley next. >> thank you. you talked about having a red team, blue team to address climate warming. is that part of your plan?
>> under consideration. and there are questions that we know the answer to. there are questions we don't know the answer to. first, for example, what is the ideal surface temperature in the year 2,100? something many folks have different per specs tispectives. so the red team blue team is exercise for the american people on scientists have different issues. frankly to build consensus? this body. as you know the clean air act amended in 1990, as you look at it, many involved in the process recognize co 2 was not under the discussion under section 111. so we have much work to do, but this is still under consideration. >> so it's my understand tg that the white house has asked the agency not to go forward with the red team blue team? >> that's untrue. >> so the public reports were incorrect? >> in this instance, yes. >> thank you. well, i'll say that the perception of the red team blue team was your entire intention
was to on behalf of the coke brother cartel mislead the american people about the very significant impacts of carbon pollution casting doubt on science contrary to your contention that you like to listen to sicientists. is it your feeling that it's split down the middle and causing significant damage in many ways to rural america, to our farming, to our fishing, and to our forests? >> this idea the red team blue team exercise did not originate with me. it actually originated from the scientists from nyu who worked for t for the obama administration. >> i'll be watching with interest, because we are a year in and haven't seen evidence in hawaii that sheds additional
issues or another issue to confuse the public over well-established scientific information. >> senator merkley. thank you. and senator markey. >> it took me 20 years to get it out of my life now jeff and i have to have it together. >> time expired. >> as you are figuring out identity, i'd like to say for the record superfund has been priority under prewett for epa. montana standard is supporting this i'll submit this for the record. this means that both sides are being fast tracked for complex and getting prewett quote immediate attention. i'd like to enter into tt record
monta montana 2018. >> thank you, i appreciate it. >> mr. prewett, it's my understanding that the epa has finalized its conclusion that fa mall da hide causes lou chem yeah and other cancers and that assessment is ready to be released for public review, but it is still being held up. can you give us a status update as to tt epa's handling of the fa mall da hide issue and the conclusion that it in fact does lou chem an and other cancers? >> my understanding is similar to yours, but i'll confirm that and provide the information to you from the program office. >> will you commit to releasing that report which is already
completed in a short period of time if it meets the standards that your epa staff has already established in terms of assessing that it does cause cancer? >> senator, i'll commit i'll look into it and when we can release it. >> can you give me an answer wut ten days? >> yes. >> thank you. >> and i also sent you over a series of letters seeking information about several different policies and processes that have been put in place at the epa. i have not received any response to those letters. i would ask that you also look at those letters and to provide a response in the shortest possible time. >> my very, very handy staff by me indicates that we provided answers to 100 questions a week ago, so if there is any
additional we'll get that to you. >> okay. thank you. >> mr. prewett, last month i sent you aler encouraging epa to withdraw its proposed rule on in uranium recovery, on in-situ uranium recovery, the irks rs. and the thing that's interesting about this rule this is the rule that the obama administration proposed on january 19, 2017. one day before president obama left office. since then the nuclear commission has come out and has stated no health or safety justification for this rule making by the epa that came out one day before president obama left office.
the nuclear commission went on to say in many 40 years of operational experience, the nuclear regulatory commission staff is aware of no documented instance of irs well field being the source of contamination of adjacent or nearby acquifer in which they are being conducted. no documents. while . when can we expect the epa to scrap this? >> i'll get that information hand get it back to your office. i'm unsure of the timing presently. >> senator carper do you have a final round of questions? >> i do. since no one else is going to come to have five minutes to ask these questions. >> reserving the right to object. >> say that again.
>> since senator pearly is going to arrive, i would ask that i ask five minutes to ask my last round of questions. and if snenator inhofe would lie to have another fiefve, that's fine by me. >> are you want to take five minutes? >> i do. >> i object. >> why thank you. >> we have something called the golden rule. >> yeah, go ahead. >> 20 seconds if the gentlemen would yield. >> i checked with staff and there has been no questions to the questions i posed to you. mr. administrator so i would ask to you respond in a timely fashion. >> golden rule senator inhofe reminds us to treat other people the way we want to be treated. not only appropriate in a hearing like this, but also when we are considering pollution put
up in the air in states to the west of downwind states. including all of us who live on the east coast. to the extent that this epa and this administration believes that the golden rule is it a good idea i would ask you consider applying the golden rule when cross country pollution. shut down all the businesses. we still have been out of compliance for clean air. because all the stuff out in the air in other states. i don't like that. and i'm not sure i like having the opportunity to go from two minutes to five minutes. >> mr. chairman, since my name has been referred to, let me respond and say there are four committee here continuation at the same time today. we are trying to balance it. and if you continue one going longer, the ones you are punishing are the ones who have not had ample time to even their first rounld of questioning in some of the other committees. so incense of fairness that's
the reason i'd like to going to be an end to this sometime. >> i would like to submit for the record of the history of the obama epa years long process to address the waters of the u.s. rules hundreds of meetings across the country including one in delaware involving epa army corps of engineers, farmers, and builders. and i think over 1 million public comments that were received during the course of the year's long activity. and i am told that those million or so comments were actually responded to. the last thing i want. >> without objection. >> thank you, mr. chairman. one more question i want to ask. and this is gives the following law, mr. prewett you said on numerous occasions and i quote you, only authority has is
congress. when congress was doing the final control, epa asked congress to move forward with bans for some uses of 3 highly toxic chemicals. congress agreed. and that language is included in the final law. one of those chemicals paint stripper called methylene chloride is so dangerous it's killed dozens of people even when wearing protective gear. banning chemicals more than a year ago. but more reports said epa may delay for several more years which will more mean that more people will get sick and probably some of them will die. yes or no, mr. prewett, wrap it up, will you commit to use the authority given to epa by congress in toxic substance control act and finalize these bans in the next 30 days, will you? >> it's my understanding it's on the priority list as far as chemicals reviewing. tce and others. so that's something that i'll confirm tan clarify with the agency. but that was my understanding.
>> i hope that means yes. mr. chairman i would like to submit for the record more materials describing mr. prewett's record at the epa. thank you. >> without objection. >> and my final question was, could you just share a little bit maybe of some of your goals and metrics you'll set for the year ahead t and i know this is something you and your team work on. >> yes, senator. in fact at the end of last year we had surveyed each of our program offices in the agency to submit five year goals. and air, wall street, across the full spectrum of our regulation chl . and in that dialogue we had a collaborative discussion to set ambitious goals on attainment issues and other matters. and the metrics are really -- if you don't set a name, it's been said if you don't know where you are going, any road will take you there. and i think what we are trying to do is set aims and objectives in each of our key areas so we can track day in and day out how
we are making progress towards those objectives. we have not done that before. in fact before we arrived at the agency, we didn't know how long it took to do a permit under the clean water act. we collected that data surveyed that. and it takes years to do that. states sometimes do it within six months to a year. so we are trying to find out how good or not we are at certain things and then set objectives and measure it daily to achieve outcomes. >> i appreciate you being here. members may submit questions in writing by the close of business. we'd like to hear back to you that will go through february 13th. i want to take you for your time and testimony. the meeting is adjourned. >> thank you, mr. chairman.
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